Oxford City Council is planning to try to ban all non-zero emissions vehicles from the roads of Oxford, making the city the world’s first emissions-free urban area.
The website OxfordStudent.com reports that the plan involves a gradual ban on petrol and diesel cars and vans from roads in the city centre, starting with Cornmarket and Queen Street in 2020 and eventually encompassing the whole city centre by 2035.
It says some of Oxford’s busiest roads currently exceed European regulations on safe limits of pollution – George Street, the worst offender in the city, averages at almost 150% the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide. High Street, St. Clement’s, and St Aldate’s also all broke the EU regulation limit – and that the plan relies on the development of green technology between 2020 and the stated end point of 2035 in order to allow HGVs to meet the zero-emission goals as well.
It quotes Councillor John Tanner as saying, “Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford’s residents. A step change is urgently needed; the Zero Emission Zone is that step change.”